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Millions of workers in France can receive up to €600 a month in aid

The Prime d’activité is open to salaried staff and freelancers - we look at who is eligible and how to apply

The Prime d’activité is paid out by the Caisse d’allocations familiales, or the CAF, each month Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

Millions of working people on lower incomes in France receive a monthly payment to boost their income by up to €600 at the start of each month. 

This bonus, called the Prime d’activité, can be paid to salaried staff and to freelancers. For many, it means the difference between mere survival and peace of mind. 

France has long had a robust social safety net for those out of work, so much so that in 2019 then-Minister of Labour Muriel Pénicaud famously said that people “can earn more by staying unemployed.”

This is not generally true, however people on low-incomes in undesirable jobs may envy the unemployed, who in 2022, received an average of €1,270 per month according to Pole Emploi. 

To make the world of work more attractive in its push for full employment, the government is keen to encourage people to apply for the Prime d’activité, which essentially rewards people for working. 

What is the Prime d’activité?

Launched on January 1, 2016, the Prime d’activité is a monthly bonus primarily aimed at helping people on lower incomes earning less than €1,885 net per month.

It is paid by the Caisse d'allocations familiales (CAF), on a sliding scale according to revenue, and can be anything from €595.25 to €15.

The total is calculated by the CAF by adding the maximum bonus of €595.25 to the household revenue (increasing with the number of dependents) then subtracting the household resources. 

A calculator for the Prime d’activité is available on the CAF website.

To apply you must:

  • Be over 18
  • Have an account with the Caisse d'allocations familiales
  • Live in France (at least nine months of the year)
  • Be in work or work independently as a micro-entrepreneur
  • Be French, European or have a valid residency card

Students and apprentices must earn at least €1,070.78 to qualify.

Applicants must declare their revenue to the CAF every three months so that the calculation can be adjusted. 

The bonus has proved popular. In 2022, five million people received it each month, up from 2.5 million in its first year.

Related articles:

French jobseeker rebrand aims to inspire ‘active’ take on employment 

France implements more controls to check for unemployment fraud 

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